I have to credit Norman Goldman mentioning this on his show Friday afternoon. William D. Hartung is the director of the Arms and Security Project at the Center for International Policy. CNN featured this article, There's plenty to cut at the Pentagon 2/22/13. (Norm also went off on the idea that 9 years from yesterday will be 2/22/22. What will the world be like when I'm about to turn 70? Still working on that...)
Having married into an Air Force family, I spent decades learning the good, bad and ugly they experienced. Over the years my reading included Spinney, Wheeler, Johnson, Carroll and others who reinforced my assessment of the Pentagon being a very large herd of sacred bulls.
Hartung introduces his subject noting all the folks (Panetta, Joint Chiefs, war industry CEOs) who weighed in on what horrors will happen if the Pentagon budget is cut.
To hear them tell it, the most powerful military in the world will grind to a halt if it is required to cut its $500 billion-plus budget by about 8%.Sweet, he goes on to point out the management problem at the Pentagon and the GOP delusions in the SecDef hearings.
Given this reality, it is astonishing that former Sen. Chuck Hagel, the Obama administration's nominee for secretary of defense, has been chastised for pointing out the obvious: The Pentagon's budget is bloated and ripe for reform.Then he details the biggest losers.
...three versions of the F-35 ...the most expensive weapons program ever undertaken. ... in an era in which aerial combat is of diminishing importance..Hartung estimates the savings on those three at 18.5 billion a year. 185 over the decade. He goes on to point out the excessive use of subcontractors. A 15% reduction there would yield 35 billion/yr. That comes to $53.5 billion annually, and THEN he gets to:
Navy... is planning to invest... in the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS), a system that has suffered serious performance problems... the service maintains its attachment to building costly and unneeded ballistic missile submarines .., even as possessing thousands of nuclear weapons is increasingly irrelevant to our security.
the Army ...bemoaning ... budget cuts at the level called for under the sequester would cost up to 300,000 jobs... [which] ignores two key facts: Our domestic basing structure is larger than it should be, and we have more troops than we need in a world in which we will no longer focus on fighting large, boots-on-the-ground conflicts.
The most outrageous fact of all is that the Pentagon can't even figure out how much of our money it is wasting. The department has never passed an audit.The Fed audit turned up 16 trillion. Any bets on the Pentagon?
Just to add to your ammo for fighting Pentagon budget battles, go on over to the Center for International Policy and check out Hartung's further discussion on Minimum Returns: The Economic Impacts of Pentagon Spending. I'm sure you will be SHOCKED to learn:
Over the past two years, Pentagon contractors have financed a series of studies that have made exaggerated claims about the economic impacts of reductions in Pentagon spending. This report refutes a number of the key findings of those industry-backed reports, which have been extensively promoted in an effort to influence politicians and the media in Washington and around the country.I am quite impressed with the CIP. Plenty of other interesting items there. Also found another source, Arms Control Association. Administration Poised to Trim Costly Nuclear Weapons Excess. One of Obama's very special efforts.
Finally, one of the possibilities that isn't in Hartung's sights are a few of our overseas bases, outposts, etc. Maybe return Diego Garcia to the Chagossians? What's in your dreams to take out of the Pentagon wallet?